The Commission services were only informed by the Belgian authorities on the afternoon of the 27th May of a heavy contamination of compound feedingstuffs with dioxin. The Commission considers this to be most regrettable given that this information seems to have been available to the Belgian authorities at a much earlier date.
At the earliest opportunity possible the Commission had a discussion on the issue in the Standing Committee on feedingstuffs and a vote on the safeguard clause in the Standing Veterinary Committee. In summary the decision under the safeguard clause obliges member states' authorities to ensure that all potentially dioxin contaminated product be it food or feedingstuff is traced, removed from the market and destroyed.
Belgium has already taken important measures in this direction including a ban on the sale of any poultry products from the suspect farms. The Commission's decision relates to products or derived products from potentially infected farms which were produced between the 15 January 1999 and June 1st 1999.
The Belgian authorities must continue to trace all products covered by this decision and notify other member states and third countries who have imported them.
Member states who have imported contaminated feedingstuffs should apply the same restrictions i.e. trace the feedingstuffs and food products from these farms and destroy them.
Finally member states should apply the same rules for non poultry products should other livestock have been fed the contaminated feed. A number of member states have already imposed restrictions on pig producing farms on a precautionary basis while the situation is being assessed. The Commission will keep the situation under review and will take any measures which it considers necessary to reinforce the protection of human health.